Chat & Chowder with Nicole Perlroth | This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends


September 22


06:00 pm - 07:00 pm

Event Category:

Chat & Chowder

WorldBoston’s Chat & Chowder features key authors on international affairs in an engaging setting. Even virtually, the spirit of Chat & Chowder persists! We encourage everyone to BYOCB (Bring Your Own Chow(der) & Beverages), and also to join us for the informal post-Chat Chat led by WorldBoston friend Mark Schreiber, Senior Counsel, Global Privacy and Cybersecurity at McDermott Will & Emery (separate Zoom link will be provided). Longtime and first-time chatters alike are welcome!

This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends is the untold history of the cyber arms trade, an invisible, classified market, spawned by the United States that has altered the balance of global politics and rendered Americans vulnerable. Starting in the 1990s, American defense contractors and intelligence agencies began paying hackers six figure sums to turn over holes in software and hardware that could be used for espionage and the increasing likelihood of cyberwar. Even as the world started migrating to the same technology, this government-sponsored market ensured that gaping holes that might otherwise be patched, were left open—leaving Americans vastly more vulnerable than other nations.

For decades, under cover of classification levels and non-disclosure agreements, the United States government became the world’s dominant hoarder of zero days, a software bug that allows a hacker to break into your devices and move around undetected. Then the United States lost control of its hoard and the market. Now those zero days are in the hands of hostile nations and mercenaries who do not care if your vote goes missing, your clean water is contaminated, or our nuclear plants melt down.

Filled with spies, hackers, arms dealers, and a few unsung heroes, written like a thriller and a reference, This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends is an astonishing feat of journalism. Based on years of reporting and hundreds of interviews, The New York Times reporter Nicole Perlroth lifts the curtain on a market in shadow, revealing the urgent threat faced by us all if we cannot bring the global cyber arms race to heel.

Nicole Perlroth is an award-winning cybersecurity journalist for The New York Times, where her work has been optioned for both film and television. She has covered Russian hacks of nuclear plants, airports, and elections, North Korea’s cyberattacks against movie studios, banks and hospitals, Iranian attacks on oil companies, banks and the Trump campaign and hundreds of Chinese cyberattacks, including a months-long hack of The Times. She is a bay-area native and a regular lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a graduate of Princeton University and Stanford University. She lives with her family in the Bay Area, but increasingly prefers life off the grid in their cabin in the woods.

Learn more about Nicole Perlroth and her new book here.

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